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Ukraine war: Free to read

Ukraine from July 8 to Aug. 1: Russian strikes kill Ukrainian grain tycoon

Grain ship leaves port of Odesa, Ukrainian minister says; Gazprom cuts gas to Latvia

A firefighter works to douse a fire in a building, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Mykolaiv, in this handout picture released on July 31.    © Reuters

This blog file is now closed. For the latest developments, head over here.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on Feb. 24 continues, with casualties mounting on both sides.

Ukrainian forces are putting up resistance using Western military aid, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy regularly calls on the world to do more to help. Governments around the globe have imposed heavy sanctions against Moscow but have stopped short of direct intervention for fear of sparking a wider conflict.

Meanwhile, rising geopolitical risk and volatile energy and financial markets are rocking Asia.

For all our coverage, visit our Ukraine war page.

Read our in-depth coverage:

-- Ukraine war casts long shadow over G-20's economic cooperation

-- Jokowi invites Xi to G-20, but China's president noncommittal

-- U.S. weighs deployment of multidomain force to Asia: commander

-- Azerbaijan eager to supply more gas to Europe in Russia's stead

-- Laos grabs for Russian lifeline as it fights fuel shortage

Entries include material from wire services and other sources.

Note: Nikkei Asia decided on March 5 to temporarily suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code.

Here are the latest developments:

Monday, Aug. 1 (Tokyo time)

  © AP

3:46 p.m. A ship carrying Ukrainian grain has left the port of Odesa, the first to do so as part of a deal to unblock Ukraine's Black Sea ports, Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov says. "The first grain ship since #RussianAggression has left port. Thanks to the support of all our partner countries & @UN we were able to fully implement the agreement signed in Istanbul," he wrote on Twitter.

11:00 a.m. Anatoly Chubais, who resigned as a high-ranking adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin and left Russia shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, was reported to be in intensive care in a European hospital on Sunday for a neurological disorder. Ksenia Sobchak, a Russian television personality and family friend of Chubais, said on Telegram that she had spoken with his wife and that he was suffering from Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the nerves. Although Chubais did not state his reason for resigning in March, it was presumed to be because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

8:31 a.m. Russian missiles pounded the southern Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv early on Sunday, killing the owner of a major grain exporter, while a drone strike on Russia's Black Sea naval base in Sevastopol was launched from within the city in a "terrorist attack," a Russian lawmaker says.

Oleksiy Vadatursky, founder and owner of agriculture company Nibulon, and his wife were killed in their home, Mykolaiv Gov. Vitaliy Kim said on Telegram. Headquartered in Mykolaiv, a strategically important city that borders the mostly Russian-occupied Kherson region, Nibulon specializes in the production and export of wheat, barley and corn, and has its own fleet and shipyard.

Five Russian navy staff members were injured by an explosion after a presumed drone flew into the courtyard of Russia's Black Sea fleet headquarters in Russian-occupied Sevastopol, the Crimean port city's Gov. Mikhail Razvozhayev told Russian media.

Sunday, July 31

5:29 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin says on Navy Day in St. Petersburg that the navy will receive hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles within months and that the location of their deployment will depend on Russian interests.

Before the speech, Putin signs a new naval doctrine setting out the force's broad strategic aims, including its ambitions as a "great maritime power" extending over the entire world. The doctrine identifies the U.S.'s "strategic course towards dominance" in the ocean and growing NATO activity close to Russia as major security threats, the official Tass news agency reports.

4:51 a.m. Ukraine decides on a mandatory evacuation of people in the region around the eastern city of Donetsk, the scene of fierce fighting with Russia, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says. In a late-night address, the president also says the hundreds of thousands of people still in combat zones in the larger Donbas region need to leave.

Saturday, July 30

A gas compressor station in Poland, part of the Yamal pipeline linking Russia with western Europe owned by a joint venture of Gazprom.   © Reuters

10:54 p.m. Russian gas producer Gazprom says it stopped sending gas to Latvia after accusing the Baltic country of violating supply conditions, without specifying the conditions allegedly violated.

Edijs Saicans, deputy state secretary on energy policy at the Latvian Economics Ministry, says the cutoff will have little effect as Latvia already has banned Russian gas imports effective Jan. 1, 2023, according to Reuters.

Russia previously cut off gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, the Netherlands and Denmark, which refused to pay in line with an order by President Vladimir Putin requiring ruble accounts to be set up in a Russian bank.

3:06 p.m. A senior official in Russian-annexed Crimea accuses Ukraine of a drone attack that injured several employees at the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea fleet. The Ukrainian defense ministry does not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment.

2:40 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he had "a frank and direct conversation" with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a call on topics including grain exports.

"I ... emphasized that the world expects Russia to fulfill its commitments under the deal it reached with Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations on grain shipments from Ukraine," Blinken says.

He says that "the world will not recognize annexations" and that "we will impose additional significant costs on Russia if it moves forward with its plans" to take over more of Ukraine's territory and overthrow its government.

Russia's foreign ministry says Lavrov detailed the grain deal and objected to U.S. sanctions -- and called for "quiet diplomacy" on a potential prisoner swap, alluding to Americans Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner, whose release Blinken says he pressed the Kremlin for.

The American side has reportedly proposed a prisoner swap involving Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer imprisoned in the U.S. Blinken has not confirmed the details of what he has called the U.S.'s "substantial proposal."

Russia's defense ministry says Ukraine struck a prison with U.S.-made HIMARS rockets, killing 40 prisoners of war from its own side and wounding 75.   © Reuters

Friday, July 29

5:40 p.m. Russia's defense ministry says Ukraine struck a prison in separatist-held territory with U.S.-made HIMARS rockets, killing 40 Ukrainian prisoners of war and wounding 75. "A missile strike from the U.S.-made multiple launch rocket system was carried out on a pre-trial detention center in the area of the settlement of Olenivka, where Ukrainian military prisoners of war, including fighters from the Azov battalion, are being held," the defense ministry said in its daily briefing.

3:35 p.m. British Defense Minister Ben Wallace says that Russia is failing in "many areas" in its war in Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin might seek to change strategy again. "The Russians are failing at the moment on the ground in many areas ... Putin's plan A, B, and C has failed and he may look to plan D," Wallace told Sky News television.

8:30 a.m. Ukraine has stepped up its drive to retake Russian-controlled southern Ukraine by trying to bomb and isolate Russian troops in hard-to-resupply areas. In a Thursday night address, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy once again signaled that Ukrainians would not be intimidated by the Russian invasion. "We shall do everything to ensure no one anywhere in the world remains indifferent to this terrible war that Russia has unleashed on our country and against the very notion of freedom," Zelenskyy said. Ukraine said on Thursday its planes had struck five Russian strongholds around the southern city of Kherson and another nearby city.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov addresses ambassadors at the Russian Embassy during his visit to Addis Ababa on July 27.   © Reuters

4:20 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken still hopes to have an opportunity to speak with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov "in the coming days," State Department spokesperson Ned Price says.

The Russian side has acknowledged the U.S.'s call request, according to Price.

"As you know, Foreign Minister Lavrov is in the midst of travel, so I don't have any update to provide in terms of when they may be able to connect," Price tells a news conference. "But we continue to discuss that in the appropriate channels."

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova says Lavrov has a "busy schedule" and will address the American request "when time permits," Interfax reports.

In the Russia-controlled village of Chornobaivka, Ukraine, on July 26: Russia's 49th Army, stationed on the west bank of the Dnipro River, now looks highly vulnerable, British military intelligence says.

3:55 a.m. Speaking at an event with American business leaders, President Joe Biden says his administration has "no doubt" U.S. economic growth will be lower in 2022 than last year. His remarks come after new data showed the economy shrank for a second straight quarter.

China, too, seems uncertain about its economic growth target. China's top leadership made no promises to meet the country's annual growth goal at the latest meeting, in a tacit acknowledgment that its strong coronavirus restrictions have made a 5.5% expansion impossible. Read more.

Thursday, July 28

10:00 p.m. Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. counterpart Joe Biden have begun their latest telephone call as the economic rivalry between their two nations intensifies and tensions rise over Taiwan, the South China Sea and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Read more.

9:30 p.m. A photo shoot for Vogue by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife has sparked a debate over their celebrity treatment at a time of war. Here are just a couple of comments from both sides.

3:20 p.m. Ukraine's counteroffensive is gathering momentum in the Russian-controlled southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, Britain's defense ministry says. "Ukrainian forces have highly likely established a bridgehead south of the lngulets River, which forms the northern boundary of Russian-occupied Kherson," it said in a regular intelligence bulletin on Twitter. Russia's 49th Army, stationed on the west bank of the Dnipro River, now looks highly vulnerable, British military intelligence said, adding that Kherson was virtually cut off from the other territories occupied by Russia.

10:30 a.m. Russian forces took over Ukraine's second-biggest power plant and are conducting a "massive redeployment" of troops to three southern regions, a Ukrainian presidential adviser says, amid expectations of a Ukrainian counter-offensive. Russian-backed forces on Wednesday said they had captured the Soviet-era coal-fired Vuhlehirsk power plant intact, in what was Moscow's first significant gain in more than three weeks. Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, confirmed the capture of the plant in the eastern Donetsk region but said it was only a "tiny tactical advantage" for Russia.

Antony Blinken, left, meets with Sergey Lavrov in Stockholm on Dec. 2.   © AP

4:00 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expects to speak with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on a call in the coming days, Blinken tells a news conference.

The talks would be the first between the top American and Russian diplomats since the war began. Blinken says he will follow up on the U.S.'s weeks-old "substantial proposal" to facilitate the release of two "wrongfully detained" Americans: former Marine Paul Whelan, convicted in 2020 of espionage, and WNBA star Brittney Griner, who pleaded guilty this month to drug charges. Blinken also says he will raise the matter of last week's grain export deal in hopes that shipments of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea will soon resume.

Separately, Russia now says it will remain on the International Space Station until at least 2028, when Russian space officials expect their country's own outpost in orbit to be built, Reuters quotes NASA space operations chief Kathy Lueders as saying.

Russian troops take part in combat drills in the Rostov region last December. Russia's defense ministry has announced a plan to hold strategic military exercises in the east starting in August.   © Reuters

12:36 a.m. Russian soldiers are firing from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Enerhodar, using it as a "fortress," Mayor Dmytro Orlov says from outside the occupied southeastern Ukrainian city.

"The occupiers are shelling the opposite coast of the river, the city of Nikopol," he says on Ukrainian television, according to CNN. "They know very well that the Ukrainian armed forces will not respond to these attacks, as they can damage the nuclear power plant."

"The occupiers are using NPP workers and locals as hostages," he says. "People are kidnapped for the purpose of obtaining money or other benefits. People are kept in basements."

Wednesday, July 27

11:30 p.m. Negotiations between Turkey and the U.S. on an F-16 fighter jet deal "are going well," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says.

The Biden administration's approach "is very positive," Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency quotes Cavusoglu as saying in a televised interview.

U.S. President Joe Biden has insisted that there has been no quid pro quo with Turkey to sell F-16 fighters in return for compromising on the Swedish and Finnish bids to join NATO.

6:26 p.m. Authorities in the Russian-controlled Ukrainian city of Kherson have closed the city's only bridge across the Dnipro river after it came under fire from U.S.-supplied high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), an official of the administration said.

The Antonivskyi bridge is now closed to civilians but its structural integrity has not suffered from the shelling, Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-imposed Kherson administration, told Interfax. "Traffic on the bridge is blocked. Indeed, another HIMARS strike was launched during the night," Stremousov said in remarks shared on his Telegram channel.

11:36 a.m. Russia plans to hold strategic military exercises in the east of the country starting next month, the defense ministry said on Tuesday, thousands of kilometers from the war in Ukraine. The Vostok (East) exercises will take place from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5. They appear intended to send a message that Russia, despite the costly five-month war in Ukraine, remains focused on the defense of its entire territory and capable in military terms of sustaining "business as usual." In a statement, the ministry emphasized that its capacity to stage such drills was unaffected by what it calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine.

"A lot of troops and gear from the eastern MD (military district) have already been deployed, rotated, lost and killed in Ukraine since February, so this will be interesting to see what they can salvage," said Mathieu Boulegue, a military specialist at London's Chatham House think tank.

7:02 a.m. The Pentagon formally approved in late June a plan to help treat wounded Ukrainian troops at a U.S. military hospital in Germany, a defense official said on Tuesday. Nearly five months since President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Russia's neighbor, its forces are grinding through the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and occupy around a fifth of the country. The Kyiv government said in June that 100 to 200 Ukrainian troops were being killed per day.

4:05 a.m. The joint coordination center for the recent agreement on Ukrainian grain exports is up and running, Russia's defense ministry says.

"In accordance with the provisions of the Black Sea Initiative, the joint grain export coordination center has begun work in Istanbul," the ministry says in a story by the Russian government's Tass news agency.

An opening ceremony is slated for Wednesday, Turkey's defense ministry says in a story by the country's state-run Anadolu Agency.

Tuesday, July 26

The International Space Station: Russia aims to build its own orbital station, the country's space chief says. (NASA/Roscosmos via Reuters)

11:08 p.m. Russia's new space chief signals his country's intent to withdraw from the International Space Station after 2024, but a senior NASA official tells Reuters that Moscow has not communicated its intent to quit the decades-old orbital partnership with the U.S.

"We will certainly meet our obligations [to] our partners, but we have decided to leave this station after 2024," Yuri Borisov, the recently installed director general of the Roscosmos space agency, tells Russian President Vladimir Putin in a working meeting, according to the Kremlin's transcript.

"I believe that we will start building a Russian orbital station by that time," Borisov continues. "To my mind, the future of the Russian manned space program should primarily hinge on a well-thought-out and systemic research program, so that each flight will expand our knowledge of outer space." Putin replies: "Fine."

With a dozen EU countries already facing reduced Russian supplies, Brussels is urging member states to save gas for winter.   © Reuters

9:40 p.m. European Union countries approve an emergency plan to curb their gas demand, striking compromise deals to limit the cuts for some countries, as they brace for further Russian reductions in supply.

Energy ministers approved a proposal for all EU countries to voluntarily cut gas use by 15% from August to March.

The cuts could be made binding in a supply emergency, but the group agreed to exempt numerous countries and industries, after some governments had resisted the EU's original proposal to impose a binding 15% cut on every country.

European gas prices have surged 20% in two days on deeper supply cuts from Russia, the Financial Times reports.

Firefighters work at the site of a residential building damaged by a Russian military strike in the Mykolaiv region of Ukraine. (State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via Reuters)

3:30 p.m. Russian forces have struck port infrastructure in Ukraine's southern Mykolaiv region, Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich says. "A massive missile strike was launched on the south of Ukraine from the direction of the Black Sea, and with the use of aviation," he told Ukrainian state television, providing no details on the aftermath of the strike. Last Saturday, Russia struck the port of Odesa, also in the south, casting doubt on a plan to restart Ukrainian grain exports.

2:21 p.m. Britain says there was "no indication" that a Ukrainian warship and a stock of anti-ship missiles were at Odesa port on Sunday, after Russia earlier said it had destroyed those targets with high-precision missiles. "Russia will continue to prioritize efforts to degrade and destroy Ukraine's anti-ship capability. However, Russia's targeting processes are highly likely routinely undermined by dated intelligence, poor planning and a top-down approach to operations," the British Ministry of Defense said in a regular intelligence update. The Ukrainian military has said two Kalibr missiles fired from Russian warships hit the area of a pumping station at the port.

5:30 a.m. Russia's top diplomat says Moscow's overarching goal in Ukraine is to free its people from its "unacceptable regime," expressing the Kremlin's war aims in some of the bluntest terms yet as its forces pummel the country with artillery barrages and airstrikes. The remark from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov comes amid Ukraine's efforts to resume grain exports from its Black Sea ports --- something that would help ease global food shortages -- under a new deal tested by a Russian missile strike on Odesa over the weekend. "We are determined to help the people of eastern Ukraine to liberate themselves from the burden of this absolutely unacceptable regime," Lavrov said at an Arab League summit in Cairo late Sunday, referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's government.

12:50 a.m. Russia's Gazprom says it will reduce natural gas supplies to Europe through Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Wednesday at 7 a.m. Moscow time.

Daily output will fall to a maximum of 33 million cu. meters, the majority-state-owned gas company says, attributing the reduction to turbine maintenance. That is just 20% of full capacity.

Germany is on the front lines of energy uncertainty in Europe. German business confidence has sunk to its lowest level in more than two years as companies eye the risk of recession in Europe's largest economy.

Gazprom's latest move "fits with the pattern that has been on display for months and months which is continuing reductions of pipeline flows to keep supplies tight and complicate storage," the Financial Times quotes S&P Global Commodity Insights analyst Laurent Ruseckas as saying.

Firefighters work at the site of a Russian missile strike in the port of Odesa on July 23, amid the continuing Russian invasion of Ukraine.   © Reuters

Monday, July 25

6:11 p.m. The Kremlin says that a Russian cruise missile strike against the port of Odesa in southern Ukraine will not affect the export of grain. In a conference call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had targeted military infrastructure in a missile strike on Saturday, just hours after Kyiv and Moscow had signed a landmark deal to restart crucial grain exports from Ukraine. "These strikes are connected exclusively with military infrastructure," Peskov said. "They are in no way related to infrastructure that is used for the export of grain. This should not affect -- and will not affect -- the beginning of shipments."

6:08 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the state funeral of Japanese former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Kremlin says. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia has yet to decide the country's presence at the funeral. Nikkei has reported that Tokyo was leaning toward not allowing Putin to attend the funeral, set for Sept. 27.

11:40 a.m. Chicago wheat futures rose more than 2% on Monday, recouping some of the previous session's sharp losses, as Russia's missile attacks raised concerns over Ukrainian supplies, despite a deal between the two nations. Corn rose 1.2%, while soybeans added 0.2%. Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, told Reuters, "The Black Sea corridor itself is news but it does not guarantee that shortfall will reach the market."

6:00 a.m. Ukraine pressed ahead on Sunday with efforts to restart grain exports from its Black Sea ports under a deal aimed at easing global food shortages but warned deliveries would suffer if a Russian missile strike on Odesa was a sign of more to come. "We continue technical preparations for the launch of exports of agricultural products from our ports," Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a Facebook post. Zelenskyy's economic adviser Oleh Ustenko said Ukraine could export 60 million tons of grain over the next nine months, but it would take up to 24 months if its ports' operations were disrupted.

Combines harvest wheat in a Russia-held part of the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, on July 23. Russia's latest attacks are causing grain prices to rise.   © Reuters

1:28 a.m. A Canadian citizen died recently in Ukraine, with a media report suggesting the deceased Canadian was with two U.S. citizens who died in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

"Global Affairs Canada is aware of the death of a Canadian in Ukraine. Consular officials are in contact with the family and are providing consular assistance," a Canadian foreign ministry spokesperson said, adding that further details would not be shared due to privacy considerations.

12:30 a.m. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered reassurances over Russian grain supplies to Egypt during a visit to Cairo. "We reaffirmed the commitment of Russian grain exporters to meet all their commitments," Lavrov said in a press conference with Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry. Egypt is one of the world's top wheat importers and last year bought about 80% of those imports from Russia and Ukraine.

"We discussed specific parameters of cooperation in this area, agreed on further contacts between the relevant ministries, and we have a common understanding of the causes of the grain crisis," Lavrov added.

Sunday, July 24

6:49 p.m. Russian forces have destroyed a Ukrainian warship and U.S.-supplied Harpoon anti-ship missiles in the Ukrainian port of Odesa, Russian news agencies quoted the defense ministry. "A docked Ukrainian warship and a warehouse with U.S.-supplied Harpoon anti-ship missiles were destroyed by long-range precision-guided naval missiles in Odesa seaport on the territory of a ship repair plant."

5:55 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Washington "strongly condemns the Russian missile attack" on Odesa, while casting blame on Moscow for intensifying the world's food crisis.

"This attack casts serious doubt on the credibility of Russia's commitment to yesterday's deal and undermines the work of the UN, Turkey, and Ukraine to get critical food to world markets," Blinken says in a statement. "Russia is starving Ukraine of its economic vitality and the world of its food supply through the effective blockade of the Black Sea."

Ukraine's public broadcaster reports the missiles had not caused significant damage.

Saturday, July 23

11:45 p.m. Turkey expresses concern over reports that Russian missiles struck Odesa, but remains hopeful grain shipments will start soon from the Black Sea port under a deal brokered by Turkey and the U.N.

"The fact that this incident took place right after the agreement we made yesterday regarding the grain shipment has really worried us, and we are disturbed by this," Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told the Anadolu news agency. "However, we continue to fulfill our responsibilities in the agreement."

He also says Moscow claimed to have "nothing to do" with the attacks.

10:30 p.m. Ukraine's military says Russian missiles have hit the port of Odesa a day after both sides agreed on a deal to restart grain exports.

Kalibr cruise missiles struck the Black Sea port, according to Operational Command South. Grain storage facilities were not hit, a military spokesperson says.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the alleged missile strike. Russia's Defense Ministry did not immediately comment on the matter.

3:30 p.m. Thirteen Russian missiles hit a military airfield and railway infrastructure in Ukraine's central Kirohovrad region on Saturday, killing and wounding a number of people, the local governor says. Gov. Andriy Raikovych wrote on Telegram that rescue teams were working at the impact sites, and that one small district of the regional capital, Kropyvnytskyi, had been left without electricity by the strikes.

A rescuer stands in a front of a school building destroyed by a Russian missile strike in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on July 21.   © Reuters

10:00 a.m. Credit rating firms Fitch and Scope downgraded Ukraine two days after the war-ravaged country requested a debt payment freeze. Both firms cut the country's long-term foreign-currency rating to a 'C' grade, just one step from default, with both also signaling that a default now looked likely. A "default-like process has begun" Fitch said referring to Kyiv's 'consent solicitation' request for a two-year deferral on its $20 billion-plus stock of international debt. "The rating would be downgraded to 'restricted default' and the affected instruments to 'D' following the consent solicitation "effective date," should it be accepted, which we view as likely," Fitch added.

8:00 a.m. The U.S. is exploring whether it can send domestically made fighter jets to Ukraine, a White House spokesman told reporters on Friday, as the conflict with Russia enters its fifth month and fighting rages in eastern Ukraine. While the Biden administration was making preliminary explorations into the feasibility of potentially providing the jets to Ukraine, the move is not something that would be done immediately, White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters in a briefing. "It's not something that would be executed in the near term," Kirby added.

An M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) being fired from an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Russia claims its forces have destroyed four of the U.S.-supplied launchers in July. (Pavlo Narozhnyy via Reuters)

6:30 a.m. The U.S. announces an additional $270 million in military assistance to Ukraine.

The aid includes security assistance valued at up to $175 million, as well as $95 million under a Defense Department initiative. The package includes four more HIMARS rocket systems, four command post vehicles, 36,000 rounds of 105 mm ammunition, and up to 580 Phoenix Ghost tactical drones.

The additions bring the Biden administration's total security assistance so far to $8.2 billion.

Friday, July 22

11:57 p.m. Russia and Ukraine have agreed to reopen Ukrainian Black Sea ports for grain exports, taking a step that United Nations chief Antonio Guterres says will help avert a global food crisis. Read more.

11:40 p.m. The Japanese government is expected to refuse Russian President Vladimir Putin as a guest at the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this fall should he desire to attend.

The Russian leader is subject to a de facto entry ban imposed in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. Read more.

9:30 p.m. Russia's central bank has lowered its key interest rate by 150 basis points to 8%, a sharper cut than analysts had expected.

The rate decision cites slowing inflation and says "the external environment for the Russian economy remains challenging and continues to constrain economic activity significantly."

Central Bank of Russia Gov. Elvira Nabiullina later says the bank does not see a trend of deflation in Russia.

5:45 p.m. Russia's defense ministry says that its forces have destroyed four U.S.-supplied HIMARS rocket systems between July 5 and 20. "Four launchers and one transport-loading vehicle for the U.S.-made multiple launch rocket systems (HIMARS) were destroyed," it said in a daily briefing.

4:53 p.m. The Russian ruble eases slightly in early trade on Friday, lacking momentum as the market awaits the central bank's rate-setting meeting that is expected to deliver the fourth cut so far this year. At 7:19 GMT, the ruble was 0.4% weaker against the dollar at 56.87 and eased 0.2% to 57.37 against the euro on the Moscow Exchange. The ruble has become the world's best-performing currency so far this year, boosted by measures -- including restrictions on Russian households withdrawing foreign currency savings -- taken to shield Russia's financial system from Western sanctions imposed as a result of the war in Ukraine.

9:23 a.m. Japan's core consumer inflation remained above the central bank's 2% target for a third straight month in June as the economy faced pressure from high global raw material prices that have pushed up the cost of the country's imports. The nationwide core consumer price index (CPI), which excludes volatile fresh food costs but includes those of energy, rose 2.2% in June from a year earlier, government data shows.

A farmer harvests crops around a crater left by a Russian rocket 10 km from the front line in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine, on July 4.    © AP

7:33 a.m. Turkish officials say a deal on a U.N. plan to unblock exports of Ukrainian grain amid the war and to allow Russia to export grain and fertilizer will be signed today in Istanbul. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office said that he, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and officials from Russia and Ukraine will oversee the signing ceremony. It did not provide further details. Guterres has been working on a plan that would enable Ukraine to export millions of tons of grain that have been stuck in its Black Sea ports -- a move that could ease a global food crisis that has sent wheat and other grain prices soaring.

2:30 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin has discussed oil with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman the week after U.S. President Joe Biden visited the kingdom.

"They focused on the importance of further coordination within OPEC+," the Kremlin says in a readout of their telephone call.

12:30 a.m. The U.K. says it will supply Ukraine with "scores of artillery guns, hundreds of drones and hundreds more anti-tank weapons" in the coming weeks. This will include more than 20 M109 155 mm self-propelled guns and 36 L119 105 mm artillery guns. "Counter-battery radar systems and more than 50,000 rounds of ammunition for Ukraine's existing Soviet era artillery will also follow," the Ministry of Defense says.

The U.K. "will also send more than 1,600 more anti-tank weapons in the coming weeks, along with drones, including hundreds of loitering aerial munitions," the ministry says.

Thursday, July 21

4:50 p.m. Talks between Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations on resuming Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea are going well, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says, adding he is hopeful about reaching a deal. Turkey hosted officials from Russia, Ukraine and the U.N. to discuss details of the U.N.-led plan last week. Ankara has since said a general agreement was reached, and that it wants to put this into writing this week. Speaking to state broadcaster TRT Haber, Cavusoglu said he hoped to be able to announce "good news" on the talks in coming days, but added there were still minor issues being discussed between the parties.

2:31 p.m. Russian gas resumes flowing through the biggest pipeline between Russia and Germany on Thursday after a 10-day outage, the operator says, easing concerns that a maintenance period would be extended. Europe has been on edge about the restart of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline after annual maintenance, with governments bracing for possible further supply cuts. The resumption could take several hours, a spokesperson told Reuters.

12:37 p.m. Japan posted its biggest half-year trade deficit of 7.9 trillion yen ($57 billion) in the first half of 2022, inflated by a surge in import costs amid soaring energy prices and the yen's depreciation, government data shows. Imports jumped 37.9% from a year earlier to 53.9 trillion yen on the back of rising crude oil and coal prices propelled by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, according to the Finance Ministry's preliminary report.

A Ukrainian clears away debris in a house in Nikopol, in the Dnipropetrovsk region, on July 20 following a Russian military strike.    © Reuters

10:31 a.m. Ukrainian armed forces say they have killed 111 Russian soldiers in the south and east over the past day. Comments from Russia's foreign minister meanwhile show the Kremlin's goals have grown during the five-month war. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told state news agency RIA Novosti on Wednesday that Russia's military "tasks" in Ukraine now go beyond the eastern Donbas region. Lavrov also said Moscow's objectives will expand further if the West keeps supplying Kyiv with long-range weapons such as the U.S.-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). "That means the geographical tasks will extend still further from the current line," he said.

4:35 a.m. Russia will refuse to supply oil to the global market if the price is capped below the cost of production, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak says.

"If these prices spoken about are lower than costs of producing oil ... Russia will definitely not provide for supplies of such oil to international markets," he says on Channel One, according to the government's Tass news agency. "It means that we will not simply run at a loss."

4:30 a.m. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will attend the East Asia Summit foreign ministers meeting, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN-Russian foreign ministers meeting, slated to be held in Cambodia in late July and early August.

This has been confirmed by the Russian Embassy, according to the Agence Kampuchea Presse state news agency. Cambodia, the 2022 chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, had recently invited Lavrov to the ASEAN Regional Forum and other related meetings.

His possible attendance had come under heavy scrutiny, given the war. Russia, Japan, the U.S., China and South Korea are among the regular participants in East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum meetings.

Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska speaks to the U.S. Congress in Washington on July 20.   © Reuters

12:30 a.m. Speaking to the U.S. Congress, Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska tells the stories of dead and injured civilians as she details the toll of Russia's "unprovoked invasive terrorist war" on her country.

Zelenska thanks America for its help so far and says: "I'm asking for something now I would never want to ask. I am asking for weapons."

She requests air defense systems in order for rockets "not to kill children in their strollers, in order for rockets not to destroy children's rooms and kill entire families."

The speech comes the day after Zelenska met with U.S. first lady Jill Biden at the White House.

Wednesday, July 20

11:45 p.m. Europe must brace for a complete shutdown of natural gas supplies from Russia, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says.

"We have to prepare for a potential full disruption of Russian gas," von der Leyen tells a news conference.

She says European Union member states are being asked to reduce their gas consumption by 15%.

"The quicker we act, the more we save, the safer we are," she says.

Ukrainians receive food donations as the country grapples with Russia's invasion that has led to its plans to delay payments to its creditors.   © Reuters

10:15 p.m. Network operator Gascade has announced gas deliveries through Nord Stream 1 for Thursday, German media report, as a scheduled maintenance period on the key pipeline from Russia to Germany ends.

The pipeline, which accounts for more than one-third of Russian natural gas exports to the European Union, was halted for 10 days of annual maintenance on July 11.

4:34 p.m. Ukraine plans to postpone repayment of its Eurobonds and interest payments on them for 24 months from Aug. 1, according to the government. The finance ministry has been instructed by the government grappling with the impact of Russia's invasion to negotiate with creditors on deferring payments that were due by Aug. 15. The government has promised to pay higher interest on those postponed payments. Ukraine also plans to postpone payments on GDP-linked warrants to August 2024 from May 2023.

2:32 p.m. China's coal imports from Russia rose 22% in June from a month earlier despite a decline in its total coal purchases, as traders were drawn to discounted cargoes following Western sanctions on Russia. The world's biggest consumer of the fossil fuel brought in 6.12 million tons of coal from Russia last month, data from the General Administration of Customs shows. That compares with 5.01 million tons in May and 5.24 million tons in June 2021.

10:10 a.m. Russia is laying the groundwork to annex Moscow-controlled Ukrainian territory amid the war, a White House official says, based on U.S. intelligence, warning that any such attempt would be met with more sanctions from the United States and its allies. "The Russian government is reviewing detailed plans to purportedly annex a number of regions in Ukraine," including Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south and Donetsk and Luhansk in the east, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby tells a news conference. He also says Russia is beginning to roll out a version of what can be called an "annexation playbook," using tactics very similar to those seen in its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

5:26 a.m. Reports come that Ukraine's parliament has dismissed the domestic security chief and prosecutor general, two days after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy suspended the pair for failing to root out Russian spies. Ivan Bakanov was fired from his position at the helm of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) by a comfortable majority, several lawmakers said on the Telegram messaging app. The head of Zelenskyy's political faction said Iryna Venediktova had also been voted out as prosecutor general. Zelenskyy later announced he had fired one of the SBU's deputy heads but gave no details.

5:00 a.m. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan credits Russia's stance in talks on restarting shipments of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.

"The approach of the Russian delegation in the last Istanbul meetings was very positive," Erdogan said ahead of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tehran, the Anadolu Agency reports. "The outcome of the talks will have a positive impact on the whole world."

Last week, Turkey said a deal had been reached in talks involving Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations on grain shipments, which Kyiv accuses Moscow of blocking to the detriment of global markets.

1:30 a.m. London-listed mining group Polymetal International says it is weighing a disposal of its assets in Russia.

"If completed, the potential transaction would result in the company focusing primarily on its operations in Kazakhstan," Polymetal, one of the world's biggest gold miners, says in a statement.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev vowed there would be peace in Ukraine "on our terms," in a post on Telegram.   © Reuters

Tuesday, July 19

9:30 p.m. Two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers flew over the Barents Sea in northern Europe, Russia's Defense Ministry says, describing their mission as a "scheduled flight" over neutral waters. Tu-160s are designed to launch nuclear missiles.

The Defense Ministry said that Russia's air forces "perform all the flights in strict compliance with the international rules of using the airspace," Tass reports.

5:00 p.m. Russia's former president, Dmitry Medvedev, says that Russia will prevail in Ukraine and will set the terms for a future peace deal with Kyiv. "Russia will achieve all its goals. There will be peace -- on our terms," Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, said in a post on Telegram. The former leader is becoming increasingly hawkish and outspoken in his criticism of the West since Russia started the invasion into Ukraine in February.

3:02 p.m. In his first trip outside the former Soviet Union since the invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Iran for a summit with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts on the Syrian conflict, Iranian state TV says. The three countries are working together to try to reduce the violence in Syria despite supporting opposing sides in the war. Putin's visit to Tehran is being watched closely, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine has reconfigured the global oil market and because of Washington's warning about Tehran's plan to provide Russia with up to several hundred drones. Tehran has denied selling drones to Moscow to use in Ukraine.

2:34 p.m. British military intelligence says Russia has struggled to sustain effective offensive combat power since the start of its invasion of Ukraine, and the problem is likely becoming increasingly acute. "As well as dealing with severe undermanning, Russian planners face a dilemma between deploying reserves to the Donbas or defending against Ukrainian counterattacks in the southwestern Kherson sector," the Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update. The ministry added that while Russia may still make further territorial gains, their operational tempo and rate of advance is likely to be very slow.

After failing to capture the capital Kyiv early in its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has shifted to a campaign of bombardments to extend its control of the country's south and east.   © Reuters

10:05 a.m. Russian forces kept up their bombardment of cities across Ukraine, with intense shelling of Sumy in the north, cluster bombs targeting Mykolaiv and a missile strike in Odesa in the south, authorities say. After failing to capture the capital, Kyiv, at the outset of the invasion on Feb. 24, Russia has shifted to a campaign of devastating bombardments to cement and extend its control of Ukraine's south and east. Ukraine says Russian forces have intensified long-distance strikes on targets far from the front, killing large numbers of civilians. Moscow says it is hitting military targets.

4:45 a.m. The European Commission will urge European Union members next week to use less natural gas in order to save reserves of the fuel for winter, the Financial Times reports, citing a draft document.

"Acting jointly now will be less disruptive and costly, facilitating solidarity and avoiding the need for unplanned and uncoordinated actions later in a possible crisis situation with gas reserves running low," the FT quotes the document as saying.

Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen signs a natural-gas supply deal with Azerbaijan that aims to boost deliveries to Europe by 48% this year and to more than double them by 2027. But the Central Asian nation supplies only a fraction of the EU's gas needs.

Olena Zelenska, wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, arrives at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington on July 18.   © Reuters

3:45 a.m. Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska will deliver remarks to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday at 11 a.m. local time, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office says.

Zelenska is already in Washington and has met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. "She has a really tremendous mental health initiative for citizens affected by the war," State Department spokesperson Ned Price says. "USAID has supported this as well. And he ultimately reiterated that we remain committed to helping the people of Ukraine recover, to helping them rebuild, and that we will continue to stand by their side going forward."

Zelenska is also expected to meet with U.S. first lady Jill Biden.

Monday, July 18

11:16 p.m. Alphabet's Google was fined 21.1 billion rubles ($373 million) by a Moscow court for repeated failures to remove content Russia deems illegal, such as "fake news" about the conflict in Ukraine, Russia's communications regulator says. Moscow has long objected to foreign tech platforms' distribution of content that falls foul of its restrictions. But the simmering dispute has erupted into a full-on battle since Moscow assembled its armed forces before sending them into Ukraine in February.

10:22 p.m. Sweden's H&M will wind down its business in Russia, a move that will cost almost $200 million and affect 6,000 staffers.

The world's second-biggest fashion retailer suspended its business in Russia in early March. Russia was H&M's sixth-biggest market, and the company was increasing its store count there while reducing physical shops in many other markets, Reuters reports.

Several other retailers including Inditex and Adidas have halted sales in Russia, while U.S.-based fashion retailer TJX and Poland's top fashion retailer LPP decided to sell their businesses in Russia.

3:21 p.m. British military intelligence says that Russia has used private military company Wagner to reinforce its front-line forces in the Ukraine conflict and that Wagner is lowering its recruitment standards by hiring convicts and formerly blacklisted individuals. "This will highly likely impact on the future operational effectiveness of the group and will reduce its value as a prop to the regular Russian forces," the Ministry of Defense says in the intelligence update.

5:18 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has suspended the head of the domestic security agency -- a childhood friend -- and the prosecutor general who led the effort to prosecute Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

Many cases have come to light of people in Ivan Bakanov's and Iryna Venediktova's agencies collaborating with Russia, Zelenskyy explains.

"As of today, 651 criminal proceedings have been registered regarding treason and collaboration activities of employees of prosecutor's offices, pretrial investigation bodies and other law enforcement agencies. ... In particular, more than 60 employees of the prosecutor's office and the Security Service of Ukraine remained in the occupied territory and are working against our state," Zelenskyy says in a video address.

Zelenskyy has appointed Oleksiy Symonenko, one of Venediktova's deputies, as acting prosecutor general.

Sunday, July 17

Ukrainian troops fire from a BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle as part of a training exercise not far from the front line in the Donbas region on July 15.   © Reuters

11:05 p.m. Ukraine and NATO members threaten Russia by not recognizing its 2014 annexation of Crimea, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says.

"If any state, either Ukraine or a NATO country, thinks that Crimea is not part of Russia, it is a systemic threat," says Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, to World War II veterans in Volgograd in comments reported by the official Tass news agency. And if such a state belongs to a "hostile bloc," then it is a "permanent threat for us," he adds.

Going into Ukraine was a "forced decision" and a "preventive measure to neutralize a military threat" from "those people who have power there, the nationalist circles," Medvedev says.

7:40 p.m. Russia's defense ministry says its aircraft have shot down a Ukrainian Mi-17 helicopter near the eastern town of Sloviansk and a Su-25 aircraft in the Kharkiv region. It also says its long-range air-based missiles have destroyed a depot at an industrial site in the southern Ukrainian city of Odesa that stored Harpoon anti-ship missiles supplied to Ukraine by NATO countries. Reuters cannot immediately verify the claims.

3:00 p.m. Russia is reinforcing defensive positions across the areas it occupies in southern Ukraine, according to the British defense ministry. The reinforcements include movement of manpower, equipment and defensive stores between Mariupol and Zaporizhzhia, and in Kherson, the ministry tweets, adding that Russian forces in Melitopol are also increasing security measures.

4:45 a.m. Moscow vows to step up military operations in "all operational areas" as Russian rockets and missiles pound cities in strikes that Kyiv says have killed dozens in recent days. Rockets hit the northeastern town of Chuhuiv in the Kharkiv region overnight, killing three people including a 70-year-old woman and wounding three others, regional governor Oleh Synehubov says.

Ukraine says at least 40 people have been killed in such attacks on urban areas in the last three days. Russia says it has been hitting military targets.

Saturday, July 16

8:10 p.m. Group of 20 finance ministers fail to find common ground regarding Russia's war in Ukraine and its repercussions on global inflation as their meeting in Bali closes.

4:28 p.m. Washington believes Russian officials visited an airfield in Iran recently to view attack-capable drones, national security adviser Jake Sullivan says. The U.S. earlier this week said it has information showing Iran is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred drones, including some that are weapons capable, and that Tehran is preparing to train Russian forces to use them. Iran's foreign minister denied Sullivan's assertions.

3:45 a.m. Ukrainian rocket strikes have destroyed more than 30 Russian military logistics centers in recent weeks and significantly reduced Russia's attacking potential, Ukraine's defense ministry spokesperson said on Friday. "In the last weeks, over 30 of the enemy's military logistical facilities have been destroyed," Oleksandr Motuzianyk said on national television. He singled out the role played by U.S.-produced HIMARS rocket systems, one of several types of long-range weapons supplied by the West to help Ukraine fight back against Russia.

12:45 a.m. Russian investors will have the right to ask foreign institutions holding their frozen securities to transfer depositary accounting rights to a Russian organization, according to a law signed by President Vladimir Putin. Around 6 trillion rubles ($105.1 billion) of foreign shares held by Russians have been frozen as a result of Western sanctions as well as by Russia's own authorities and platforms restricting trading in foreign assets, the central bank has estimated.

Friday, July 15

10:28 p.m. Russia imposes sanctions against 384 members of Japan's parliament, as Moscow says the measures target those who had "taken an unfriendly, anti-Russian position."

Tokyo has hit Russia with harsh sanctions, joining fellow Group of Seven countries in freezing the central bank's assets, since Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Emergency workers inspect the damage from a Russian missile strike in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, on July 14: Moscow says the building was the site of a meeting with foreign arms suppliers.   © Reuters

6:41 p.m. Russia's Defense Ministry says Thursday's cruise missile strike on the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia was directed at a building where top officials from Ukraine's armed forces were meeting foreign arms suppliers. Ukraine has denied any military target was hit, saying the attack killed at least 23 people and struck a cultural center used by retired veterans. "On July 14, Kalibr (cruise) missiles were launched at the House of Officers in Vinnytsia," the ministry said in its daily update. "The facility was hosting a conference of the Ukrainian Armed Forces command with representatives of foreign arms suppliers ... The attack resulted in the elimination of the participants."

11:29 a.m. China's economy eked out a 0.4% year-on-year expansion in the second quarter, slowing sharply from the first three months as COVID-19 lockdowns in Shanghai and other major cities hit factory output and consumer activity. The tepid results marked the slowest quarter since the first three months of 2020, when the economy contracted 6.9% as China battled an early outbreak of the coronavirus, first detected in the city of Wuhan.

10:44 a.m. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen condemns Russia's "brutal and unjust war" in Ukraine and says Russian finance officials taking part in a Group of 20 meeting in Indonesia on Friday share responsibility for the "horrific consequences" of the war. Yellen, speaking at the opening session of the gathering of G-20 finance ministers and central bankers on Bali, welcomed Ukraine's finance minister and blamed the negative spillovers of the war "solely" on Russia, a Treasury official said.

9:55 a.m. Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati says that failure by Group of 20 finance chiefs to reach consensus at their meeting in Bali could be catastrophic for low-income countries hurt by soaring food and energy prices, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. In her opening remarks to the meeting, Sri Mulyani said Indonesia would be an honest broker and find creative solutions to overcome the "triple threat" of surging commodity prices, global inflation and war.

3:30 a.m. Ukraine's Kyiv Ballet begins a tour of Japan on Friday. The tour is being described as the company's first international appearance since the Russian invasion.

Twenty-eight dancers who fled the war to Germany and other countries will take part in Japanese performances over the coming weeks.

"The arts bring people together," artistic director Elena Filipyeva told a news conference, adding that she hoped to reconnect with dancers in Russia after these difficult times end.

Works by Tchaikovsky and other Russian composers will not be performed, at the direction of Ukraine's ministry of culture.

Dancers from the Kyiv Ballet take part in an open rehearsal in Maebashi, near Tokyo, on July 14 ahead of their tour of Japan. (Photo by Ryuji Nishijima)

1:00 a.m. Russian missiles strike the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, far behind the front lines, on Thursday in an attack that Ukrainian officials call a war crime and say killed at least 22 people, including three children.

About 100 more are reported injured in the attack southwest of Kyiv and far from the heart of the fighting in Donbas, according to media reports.

The strike, which Ukraine said had been carried out with Kalibr cruise missiles launched from a Russian submarine in the Black Sea, came a day after a breakthrough in talks between Moscow and Kyiv to unblock Ukrainian grain exports and underscored how far the two sides remain from a peace settlement. Read full storyRead full story

"What is this, if not an open act of terrorism?" Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy writes on the Telegram messaging app.

12:34 a.m. The U.S. and 44 other countries -- including Canada, European Union states and Australia -- sign a declaration during a conference in The Hague to coordinate investigations into suspected war crimes in Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in war crimes since it invaded Ukraine in February.

Steps they will take include creating an umbrella group to avoid duplicating investigations, training Ukrainian prosecutors and expanding the number of forensic teams operating in Ukraine. They also pledged 20 million euros ($20 million) to assist the International Criminal Court, as well as the prosecutor general's office in Ukraine and United Nations support efforts.

A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson on July 14 complained that Ukraine was using U.S. HIMARS rocket systems "everywhere," causing civilian deaths. (Pavlo Narozhnyy via Reuters)   © Reuters

Thursday, July 14

6:02 p.m. Russia's Foreign Ministry attacks the U.S. and Britain for helping train Ukraine's armed forces, calling it part of "hybrid warfare" being waged by NATO countries against Russia. In a media briefing, spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Washington had provided Ukraine with instructors who were helping Kyiv's forces use advanced U.S.-made high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS). She noted the rockets, which have a longer range and are more precise than other artillery weapons, were being used "widely" by Ukrainian forces.

"Ukrainian forces are using HIMARS received from the United States everywhere," Zakharova said. She said Washington had "secretly sent instructors" to Ukraine to help its forces learn how to use and aim the new weapons, resulting in civilian targets in Russian-controlled areas being fired upon.

5:23 p.m. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says representatives of President Vladimir Putin had no place at a meeting of the Group of 20 major economies, warning that the war in Ukraine was causing a negative spillover around the world. Yellen was speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of a G-20 meeting of finance leaders on the Indonesian island of Bali, which Russia is also attending.

Children play near an area where Ukrainian servicemen are training on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine on June 17.   © Reuters

10:58 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken strongly condemns the "unlawful transfer and deportation of protected persons" from areas in Ukraine that Russia controls. "Russian authorities must release those detained and allow Ukrainian citizens forcibly removed or coerced into leaving their country the ability to promptly and safely return home," Blinken said in a statement. An estimated 900,000 to 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens -- including 260,000 children -- have been interrogated, detained and deported to Russia, with some sent to the country's Far East, he said.

9:44 a.m. The central bank of Singapore tightens its monetary policy in an out-of-cycle move as the city sees inflationary pressure rising on the back of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The state also announced its economy grew 4.8% on the year in the April-June quarter, according to preliminary figures released on Thursday, faster than the 4% spurt the previous term.

4:10 a.m. Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations have reached a deal in talks aimed at resuming Ukrainian grain exports blocked by Russia, the Turkish defense minister says.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hails the development as a "major step forward" that shines "a ray of hope in a world darkened by crises."

2:00 a.m. Ukraine has severed diplomatic relations with North Korea, which Kyiv condemns for recognizing Russian-occupied breakaway regions that have declared independence.

North Korea is one of a handful of countries, including Syria and Belarus, that recognize or support the recognition of the "people's republics" of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states.

Ukraine maintains these regions are part of its territory, a position for which it has widespread international support.

"Russia has no more allies in the world, except for countries that depend on it financially and politically, and the level of isolation of the Russian Federation will soon reach the level of isolation of the DPRK," Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says in an statement on cutting diplomatic ties with North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

North Korea's recognition of the two breakaway regions came on Wednesday. The North Korean ambassador to Russia, Sin Hong-chol, met his Donetsk counterpart Olga Makeyeva in Moscow. Makeyeva said she was confident that "cooperation between countries, which now has official status, will be fruitful and mutually beneficial," Tass reports.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un: His country joins Syria in recognizing breakaway Ukrainian regions as independent "people's republics." (KCNA via Reuters)

1:30 a.m. Chinese and Russian military activity around Japan increased 2.5 times in the four months following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, sparking alarm here over a potential escalation.

Releases by Japan's Ministry of Defense show 90 instances of activity by Chinese and Russian military vessels and aircraft near Japan in the four months after the invasion began. There had been 35 in the four months before.

A Chinese vessel and Russian vessel entered Japan's contiguous zone near the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands on July 4. China claims the islands as the Diaoyu. Read more.

6:57 p.m. Chinese exports to sanctions-hit Russia tumbled in June for the fourth straight month, while Russian shipments to China continued at an elevated pace, official data show. Shipments to Russia fell 17% from the same month a year earlier in dollar terms, worse than May's 8.6% year-on-year decline, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data. Imports from Russia, however, surged 56% in June versus the same month in 2021, on top of a jump of 80% in May.

Wednesday, July 13

For the first half of the year, China's exports to its neighbor slumped to meager growth of 2.1%, as international sanctions on Russia bit. Imports, on the other hand, jumped 48%. Russia is a major source of oil, gas, coal and agricultural commodities for China.

10:33 a.m. Ukraine launched long-range rocket attacks on Russian forces in southern Ukraine and destroyed an ammunition dump, its military said, as Russia continued to pound the country's east. The strike on Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region killed 52 people, Ukraine's military said on Tuesday. The town's Russia-installed authorities said that at least seven people had been killed and around 70 injured, Russia's TASS news agency reported. The strike came after Washington supplied Ukraine with advanced HIMARS mobile artillery systems which Kyiv says its forces are using with growing efficiency.

6:37 a.m. Ukraine sparked hopes Tuesday for an increase in grain exports despite Russia's blockade of Black Sea ports, noting that ships had started to pass through an important mouth of the Danube river. "In the last four days, 16 ships have passed through the Bystre rivermouth," Deputy Infrastructure Minister Yuriy Vaskov was quoted as a saying in a ministry statement. "We plan to maintain this pace." The ministry said the 16 vessels were now waiting to be loaded with Ukrainian grain for export to foreign markets, while more than 90 more vessels were awaiting their turn in Romania's Sulina canal.

2:00 a.m. Myanmar armed forces leader Min Aung Hlaing has agreed to deepen military and "military-technical cooperation" with Russia on his second trip to the country since taking control of the Southeast Asian nation last year.

The Myanmar general met with Russian defense ministry officials in Moscow on Tuesday, Tass reports, citing a Ministry of Defense statement. He also reportedly met with state space company Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin.

"The meeting was held in a traditionally friendly atmosphere and confirmed the mutual commitment to gradually increase the wide-ranging cooperation between the defense ministries of the two countries," the defense ministry says.

12:30 a.m. A court in Russia finds Apple guilty of failing to localize Russian users' personal data within the country's territory.

The U.S. tech giant has been fined 2 million rubles ($34,000), Russian and other media report. Apple representatives reportedly told the court that the company is not responsible for gathering personal data in Russia.

12:00 a.m. The euro is within a hair of parity with the dollar for the first time since 2002 as investors weigh the risk of a deep economic slump triggered by an energy shock.

Foreign exchange markets are "discounting a severe European recession," into the euro-dollar trade, Greg Anderson and Stephen Gallo of BMO Capital Markets write in a note to clients, the Financial Times reports.

Children sit in a bomb shelter in the town of Rubizhne in Ukraine's Luhansk region on June 1.   © Reuters

Tuesday, July 12 (Tokyo time)

5:46 p.m. A Russian ammunition depot was apparently targeted by Ukrainian forces overnight, resulting in a massive blast captured on social media. The Ukrainian military's southern command said the rocket strike targeted the depot in Russian-held Nova Kakhovka, about 35 miles (55 km) east of the important Black Sea port city of Kherson, which is also occupied by Russian forces. Video on social media showed a massive explosion. The nature of the strike suggested that Ukrainian forces used U.S.-supplied multiple-launch High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to strike the area.

12:00 p.m. The White House says it believes Russia is turning to Iran to provide it with "hundreds" of unmanned aerial vehicles, including weapons-capable drones, for use in its war in Ukraine. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that it is unclear whether Iran has already provided any of the systems but that Iran apparently is preparing to train Russian forces to use them as soon as this month. "Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline," he told reporters.

11:44 a.m. The global price of oil could surge by 40% to around $140 per barrel if a proposed cap on the price of Russian oil is not adopted, along with sanctions exemptions that would allow shipments below that price, a senior U.S. Treasury official says. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will discuss implementation of the U.S. proposal and global economic developments with Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki when they meet later on Tuesday. The goal is to set the price at a level that covers Russia's marginal cost of production so Moscow has an incentive to continue exporting oil, but not high enough to allow it to fund its war against Ukraine, the official said.

9:12 a.m. The United Nations announces it will start monitoring the war in Ukraine and conflicts in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Africa's central Sahel region for violations against children, including killings, injuries, recruitment, rape and other forms of sexual violence. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his annual report to the Security Council on children and armed conflict that those four new conflicts have been added to 21 conflicts that the U.N. already is monitoring for violations of the rights of children. He said the latter conflicts saw "a high number of grave violations" in 2021.

2:45 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plan to meet soon to discuss facilitating grain exports from Ukraine. Turkey has been mediating between Moscow and Kyiv since Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine on Feb. 24. The last talks between representatives of Russia and Ukraine were held in Istanbul in late March.

Barley is harvested in the Odesa region of Ukraine. Russia has blockaded Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, preventing Ukrainian grain from reaching global markets.   © Reuters

2:00 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a decree extending a simplified Russian naturalization process to all citizens of Ukraine, a document published on the government's website shows.

Previously, the simplified procedure applied only to residents of the self-proclaimed breakaway territories of the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine.

Monday, July 11

5:50 p.m. Ukrainian forces have recaptured the village of Ivanivka in the southern Russian-occupied region of Kherson, a Ukrainian infantry brigade says. "The only thing left of the Russian occupiers in Ivanivka are horrible memories and 'dead' military equipment," it said. There is more than one village of Ivanivka in the area. One of them is located along the front line.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline is Germany's main source of Russian natural gas.   © Reuters

3:20 p.m. A major gas pipeline from Russia to Germany began shutting down for annual maintenance Monday, amid German concern that Russia may not resume the flow of gas as scheduled. The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Germany's main source of Russian gas, is scheduled to be out of action until July 21 for routine work that the operator says includes "testing of mechanical elements and automation systems." The operator said the gas flow was reduced progressively, starting at 6 a.m., German news agency DPA reported. German officials are suspicious about Russia's intentions, particularly after Russia's Gazprom last month reduced the gas flow through Nord Stream 1 by 60%. Gazprom cited technical problems involving a gas turbine powering a compressor station that partner Siemens Energy sent to Canada for maintenance and couldn't be returned because of sanctions imposed over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

5:02 a.m. Dozens of Ukrainian emergency workers labored Sunday to pull people out of the rubble after a Russian rocket attack smashed into apartment buildings in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 15 people. More than 20 residents were believed still trapped. The strike late Saturday destroyed three buildings in a residential quarter of the town of Chasiv Yar, inhabited mostly by people who work in nearby factories. On Sunday evening, rescuers were able to remove enough of the bricks and concrete to retrieve a man who had been trapped for almost 24 hours. Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region that includes Chasiv Yar, said an estimated 24 people were believed still trapped, including a 9-year-old child.

Rescuers sift through rubble after a Russian rocket hit an apartment block in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, on July 10.   © AP

Sunday, July 10

11:03 p.m. The Russian Tennis Federation was quick to claim Elena Rybakina as "our product" on her run to the women's title at Wimbledon. They then praised her training program in the country after she won the Venus Rosewater Dish as Wimbledon champion while representing Kazakhstan. "It's the Russian school, after all. She played here with us for a long time, and then in Kazakhstan," Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpishchev told sports website Championat on Saturday.

5:15 p.m. The Canadian government says it will allow the delivery to Germany of equipment from a key Russia-Europe natural gas pipeline that has undergone maintenance. Russia's Gazprom last month cited the missing equipment as a reason for more than halving the flow of gas. The return of turbines from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline sent to Montreal for a scheduled overhaul has been complicated by sanctions. Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada's minister of natural resources, said in a statement late Saturday that "Canada will grant a time-limited and revocable permit for Siemens Canada to allow the return of repaired Nord Stream 1 turbines to Germany."

Saturday, July 9

3:46 p.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the Indonesian island of Bali. The two top diplomats held their first face-to-face talks on the sidelines of the Group of 20's ministerial meeting since last October and Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February this year. "In a relationship as complex and consequential as the one between the United States and China, there is a lot to talk about," Blinken said as the two top diplomats began the meeting. Wang said, "We do need to work together to ensure that this relationship will continue to move forward along the right track."

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a ceremony marking the anniversary of the beginning of the war against Nazi Germany in 1941, by the Kremlin wall in Moscow on June 22.   © Reuters

3:00 p.m. Russia is moving reserve forces from across the country and assembling them near Ukraine for future offensive operations, British military intelligence says. A large proportion of the new Russian infantry units are probably deploying with MT-LB armored vehicles taken from long-term storage as their primary transport, Britain's Ministry of Defense tweeted in a regular bulletin.

3:20 a.m. The U.S. will send another $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, including more HIMARS missile launchers, the Financial Times and others report, citing a senior defense official.

Four more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems will be delivered to help Ukrainian forces, the official is quoted as saying.

The Biden administration is reportedly considering sending more coastal defense systems and updating Ukraine's air defense capabilities.

"If the Russians think they can outlast the Ukrainians, they need to rethink that because we are already pivoting toward thinking what the Ukrainians need in the months and years ahead," the official says.

Friday, July 8

11:55 p.m. Russia warns Lithuania and the European Union of "harsh measures" it could use against them if the transit of some goods to and from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad did not resume.

"If the situation does not stabilize in the coming days, then Russia will take harsh measures against Lithuania and the European Union," Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, says, according to Reuters. "The issue has taken too long to resolve."

Lithuania has banned the transit of goods subject to EU sanctions across its territory to and from the Baltic exclave.

8:00 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy joins world leaders in condemning the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

6:40 p.m. Russia has used only a small portion of its potential in its "special military operation" in Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells reporters. President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia had barely started in Ukraine and dared the West to try to defeat it on the battlefield, while insisting that Moscow was still open to the idea of peace talks. "Russia's potential is so great that only a small portion of it is being used in the special operation," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.

Smoke rises over Donetsk, Ukraine, after shelling amid the Ukraine-Russia conflict on July 7.    © Reuters

6:15 p.m. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen this month will visit the Indo-Pacific and use the trip to make the U.S. case for a price cap on Russian oil aimed at reducing revenue to the Kremlin. Yellen will address the economic and humanitarian challenges wrought by Russia's war in Ukraine as she represents the U.S. at G-20 finance minister meetings on the Indonesian island of Bali and makes additional stops in Tokyo and Seoul. During the July 12-19 trip, Yellen will notably avoid visiting China, although she did hold a call with China's vice premier on Monday.

4:50 p.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed Russia directly at the G-20 foreign ministers meeting in Bali and called on Moscow to let Ukrainian grain out to the world, Reuters reports citing a Western official. Blinken spoke at a plenary session of the meeting, which was focused on food and energy insecurity, said the official, who did not want to be identified. "He addressed Russia directly, saying: 'To our Russian colleagues: Ukraine is not your country. Its grain is not your grain. Why are you blocking the ports? You should let the grain out,'" the official said.

3:30 p.m. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismisses what he cast as the West's "frenzied" criticism of the war in Ukraine at a G-20 meeting, scolding Russia's rivals for scuppering a chance to tackle global economic issues. "During the discussion, Western partners avoided following the mandate of the G-20, from dealing with issues of the world economy," Lavrov said. He said the West's discussion "strayed almost immediately, as soon as they took the floor, to the frenzied criticism of the Russian Federation in connection with the situation in Ukraine. 'Aggressors,' 'invaders,' 'occupiers,' -- we heard a lot of things today," Lavrov said.

12:52 p.m. Indonesia urges the G-20 to help end the war in Ukraine, as foreign ministers from the group gather for a meeting that has put some of the staunchest critics of Russia's invasion in the same room as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The buildup to the gathering on the Indonesian island of Bali has been dominated by the war and its impact on the global economy, with top officials from Western countries and Japan stressing it would not be "business as usual" at the forum. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said at the opening of talks, "It is our responsibility to end the war sooner than later and settle our differences at the negotiating table, not on the battlefield."

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in remarks to Russian lawmakers on July 7, said the West was welcome to try to beat Russia militarily, but that this would harm Ukraine. (Kremlin via Reuters)

7:00 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses the West of decades of aggression toward Moscow and warns that if it wants to attempt to beat Russia on the battlefield it is welcome to try, but this would bring tragedy for Ukraine. His remarks came as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov prepared for a closed-door foreign ministers' meeting at a G-20 gathering in Indonesia on Friday. "We have heard many times that the West wants to fight us to the last Ukrainian. This is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but it seems that everything is heading toward this," Putin said in televised remarks to parliamentary leaders.

4:00 a.m. Ukrainians feel saddened by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's resignation, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says.

"We are sincerely grateful for the decisive and uncompromising help since the first days of the war," Zelenskyy says in a Facebook post. "I thank you in particular for the leadership in defending the interests of Ukraine in the international arena."

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meet in Kyiv on April 9. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service handout via Reuters)

3:00 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden will discuss energy security with Gulf leaders on his trip to the Middle East next week, White House spokesman John Kirby says.

His itinerary will include meetings with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Kirby says.

1:53 a.m. U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner pleads guilty to a drugs charge in a Russian court but denies she intentionally broke the law. Griner was speaking at her trial on the narcotics charge carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, days after she urged U.S. President Joe Biden to secure her release.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained in February at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport after authorities found what they said were vape cartridges containing hashish oil. She has been kept in custody since.

1:45 a.m. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov posts an update on the country's "dronation" campaign of collecting drones and cash donations to buy them for front-line troops.

"An Army of Drones will allow us to constantly monitor the 2,470 km long front-line and provide an effective response to enemy attacks," the donation website says.

Fedorov doubles as Ukraine's minister of digital transformation and is known for reaching out to Tesla chief and SpaceX founder Elon Musk with a request for Starlink satellite internet terminals.

For earlier updates, click here.

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